Protection status for Star Carr

Dr Nicky Milner, from Hunmanby Gap, at work at Star Carr. Picture by Tony Bartholomew
Dr Nicky Milner, from Hunmanby Gap, at work at Star Carr. Picture by Tony Bartholomew

THE site near Scarborough which is home to the country’s oldest surviving house is being made a scheduled monument for its rarity and archaeological importance.

On the advice of English Heritage, the site at Star Carr, five miles south of Scarborough, in Flixton, has been given protection by Heritage Minister John Penrose in a bid to preserve it for future generations.

Star Carr is an early Mesolithic occupation site and is exceptionally rare due to its remarkable survival of organic material from this prehistoric date and the evidence of built structures on the site.

Mr Penrose said: “The diversity of finds on offer at Star Carr and its history which goes back to 9000 BC are unequalled in British archaeology and it remains one of the most important Mesolithic sites in Europe.”

The house was discovered last year by a team of archaeologists from the universities of York and Manchester.

The research team unearthed the 3.5 metres circular structure next to an ancient lake at the site, which archaeologists say is comparable in importance to Stonehenge.

They also excavated a well preserved 11,000 year-old tree trunk with its bark still intact and the earliest evidence of carpentry in Europe.

The site is known for the great diversity of finds and archaeological feature, some of which are visually spectacular such as the head-dresses now in the British Museum, while others, such as worked timbers, demonstrate the early use of stone tools for carpentry.

The University of York’s Dr Nicky Milner, who grew up in Hunmanby Gap, and Dr Chantal Conneller and Barry Taylor from The University of Manchester have worked at Star Carr since 2004.